Sunrise, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, 6:30 a.m. (Atlantic)

IMG_4365Nothing acquaints you with a new location quite like watching the sunrise.  At Mahone Bay, in Nova Scotia, that means seeing the sun’s golden rays shimmering on the fronts of the buildings on the rim of the bay and reflecting on the bay’s calm waters, hearing the cries of seagulls, and breathing deep the clean, fresh air.  Now, it’s time to scare up a cup of coffee.

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Post-Apocalyptic

IMG_4345On a pretty little island off the coast of Maine, you would not expect to find a graffiti-scarred, overgrown and abandoned concrete edifice — but on Peaks Island you will find Battery Steele.

It’s there because of World War II.  It’s a huge, sprawling gun battery site, pointed out to the open sea, apparently to be used if German U-boats or the Nazi fleet threatened the Portland, Maine harbor.  It is a massive concrete installation with a long tunnel that probably stored ammunition and other supplies.  At one time it must have been powered with overhead lighting and been bustling with activity.

IMG_4334The war ended almost 70 years ago, and the threat of Nazi attack was fleeting.  The government long ago abandoned Battery Steele. Owned by the Peaks Island Land Preserve, you find the installation by walking down a meandering path through a bog, ultimately to reach this grotesque, gray intrusion into the natural landscape.

It is a very creepy place with a strong post-apocalyptic feel to it, like a setting from The Road Warrior.  The sweeping gray concrete walls have proven irresistible to graffiti artists.  Without lighting, the long central tunnel is pitch black and looks like the pathway to hell.  The resulting, unsettling sense of lawlessness has you looking over your shoulder, half-expecting to see the Humongous and his gang of psychopaths come charging out of one of the concrete doors.

On our visit yesterday, there were no rampaging gangs, and the birds chirped and the insects buzzed.  Still, we couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.IMG_4341